Stephen Simmons has gone against the grain, he’s already came out publicly and confirmed that this will be his last year as a professional before he retires and enjoys time with his family.
When fighters start talking about retirement it can sometimes be a worrying sign that they no longer have the desire for the heat of battle. That does not seem to be the case with Simmons though as he speaks about wanting to make history before he hangs up his gloves. Catching up with him before another training session he discussed his upcoming fight with Matty Askin for the British Cruiserweight Title at the York hall on 17th March and his plans after boxing.
This fight was originally due to have taken place last year so Stephen already knew a lot about Askin, whilst acknowledging his ability he did open up about how he will go about beating him.
“I think he’s a good boxer but how is he going to cope with someone who will be pressing him like myself. When he boxed Ovill McKenzie he didn’t look like he could deal with the pressure so we will soon see how he deals with it on the night. You have to go in and take it to him, there is no point going in the ring and going on the back foot. You go in there and take it to him, especially as he’s the champion and make sure you are putting it on him to win it”
Stephen also spoke about how he has been using Organo to help with his training for this fight and the difference it has made to him.
“It’s got loads of health benefits and comes from Chinese mushrooms, I feel amazing on it and have loads of energy but still managing to drop the weight”
Wadi Camacho is also on the bill and is a long-time foe of Simmons, he was in no doubt that this is a deliberate tactic to try and distract him.
“They have done that on purpose as they are trying to ruffle my feathers, the way I look at it though is I’ve been there, done that and beat him and now he’s on my undercard. It’s also showing that they are trying to do anything to try and upset me. They weren’t wanting to fight me in Scotland before, it’s as simple as that, they were getting good money when it was supposed to be up here last year and were very reluctant before he ended up pulling out through injury. I’m mandatory and David Haye won the purse bids and is putting it on in London, I don’t really care where the fight is. This will be my first time fighting at York Hall so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve had good sparring with guys like Craig Richards, Simon Barclay and Chris Billam-Smith, everything has gone well so far”
Having already said that he will retire by the end of this year, Simmons admitted that this could even be his last fight.
“I’m actually considering hanging the gloves up after this fight, I just want to win this title and then I will take some time out and think, I’m not going to rush into any fights. I have noticed a huge impact on my family life training and working is too much, I’m coming up to 34 and I want to be a family man. There would be temptation if a world title shot was to become available but we will see what happens after this fight. The only thing that excites me about this fight is making history, I would be the first Scotsman to win the Cruiserweight British Title, I’m happy with what I’ve done in my career and it’s my 22nd year as a boxer so I’ve been in the game a long time and surpassed anything I set out to do when I was a kid.
Stephen also explained that he will be taking over his old amateur club in 2019 once he has hung up his gloves.
“Leith Victoria the gym is being handed over to me when it is 100 years old next year, the reigns will be handed to me and I will help take the club on from there. The guys on the committee said they couldn’t think of anyone better to take over the gym due to the loyalty I’ve shown over the years since my amateur days. My uncle will still be there as he is the head coach and whilst I will have a big involvement I won’t be hands on day to day as my family comes first but it’s a huge honour”
Being involved on the other side of the ropes, did that mean boxing would be something you would be happy for your son to get involved in when he is older?
Stephen laughed “absolutely not, I’d hope he would get into something safer like golf or snooker and not getting punched in the face for a living. If he ever did want to do it though I would make sure he got the right training and guidance”
Stephen wouldn’t be drawn on whether he thought he would get a stoppage or the fight would go to points but he was confident that he would win the fight whichever way it went.
My own prediction is that this will be a long gruelling fight with both men having to weather some storms. I think the determination to make history and with this potentially being Stephen’s last fight he will grind things out and although he will take some hits and this will be a bruising encounter he will have his arm raised at the end to win the Lonsdale belt and become one of Scotland’s history boys.